The American flag should always be folded and put away according to the official ceremony established by the U.S. Armed Forces. In this video, see how this detailed procedure works, and learn more about the proper ways to store your American flag when not on display.

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Full Video Transcript

On national holidays, the American flag can be seen all over the United States. But showing respect for “Old Glory” is a bigger matter than simply displaying it a few times a year. Between holidays, many flags suffer damage due to improper storage.

Without proper care, the flag’s 13 stripes and Union of 50 stars could loose their vibrant beauty. Any flag shop, such as All Flags Etc., will tell you the American flag needs careful attention if it is to last. This includes a proper fold for storage between holidays.

This is a traditional fold. In order to achieve this result, you will need four people.

This is the starting position. When ready, stretch the flag to its full length. It should be straight, but not rigid.

Open the flag and close it again. This time, fold the flag so the bottom hem is about 1 inch beneath the top of the Union. Now turn the flag horizontal. Again, keep it straight without pulling too hard.

Fold it in half again, this time aligning both edges. Turn the flag horizontal once more.

The remaining two participants will enter at this time. They will ensure the flag remains smooth when it is being folded. The person holding the Union shall stand still during this time.

Now commence the triangular folds. With this first fold, you want to leave a gap of about 1 inch. The remaining folds, however should align with the seam on either side. Straighten out each fold as you go along. Repeat the process until you have made 13 folds.

When you’re done, only the Union will be visible. Turn in one corder before tucking [the final edge of the flag] inside. Straighten out any remaining bumps or wrinkles. This completes the fold. The flag is now ready for storage.

Most American flags are made out of delicate fabrics, such as nylon or polyester and therefore require comfortable storage conditions. Never store your flag in the attic. This is a trap for head and humidity. For similar reasons, you shouldn’t store your flag in the basement. Instead, store the American flag in a room temperature environment, such as a clean hallway closet. A climate-controlled storage facility will also work.

Contact your local flag store for any further questions about flag maintenance.